On Monday night, I was in Stockholm to hear the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson presenting the Research Budget Bill for the coming 10 years. The proposal is submitted to the Parliament. Bold in a way, 10 years, if you take into account Swedish general elections will be held in 2018.
The headlines of the bill are “Kunskap in samverkan” something like “Knowledge through interactions” to tackle societal challenges such as moving into a sustainable society, climate change, migration and integration, antimicrobial resistance, wealthfare, working Life research, and enhance quality in our Swedish school system.
Higher education, research and interaction with society-at-large are the core duties of universities. There is a positive impact of basic research on economy, scientists and politicians alike have little or no doubt about this, but a straight link is always fuzzy to argue. On Monday night somebody in the audience challenged exactly that, relating the number of private companies contributing to the Swedish growth (economic?) in relation to research investments …since the 60’s…input vs ouput…Shall we rethink that in terms of a true sustainable society? That is an economically efficient yet socially and environmentally responsible society. At Linnæus University, basic research activities and innovation processes are at various stages, and they do not automatically translate in a linear fashion to a number of new companies. Let’s think in a global way too… Basic research is needed to acquire knowledge and move on to make use of research results to address societal challenges. This implies High Quality Research, and going beyond our traditional way to think about basic and applied research.
High quality of research is paramount for Frontier Research and can only be achieved with widening participation (recruitment), offering attractive career paths, internationalisation, sustainable development and gender equality. At Linnæus University, faculty staff and students are working successfully together to develop a sustainable Quality Assurance System of High Education. Building on, the next step will be to finalize a solid QAS for Research, accounting for the impact on society, government policy, business and education.
30 November 2016